On May 31, 1994, at approximately 2230 Alaska daylight time, a wheel equipped Piper PA-18 Supercub airplane, N4320Z owned by Michael Spisak, d.b.a. Alaska Island Air, nosed over in a water-filled ditch along side the runway at the Kotzebue Airport, Alaska. The airline transport pilot, occupying the rear seat and an uncertificated dual flight student, occupying the front seat, were not injured in the accident which substantially damaged the airplane. The airplane was being operated under 14 CFR Part 91, without a flight plan, in visual meteorological conditions, for the purpose of performing touch and go landings in the local area.

The pilot told investigators that during the landing roll, a crosswind picked up the wing, and he "just let it go a little too far," when the airplane turned right angles to the runway, departed the gravel surface and overturned in the water-filled ditch. He said that he was in the pattern showing a friend touch and go landings. Witnesses reported the airplane to have been doing a series of touch and go landings prior to the accident.

Investigators from the NTSB and FAA learned that the pilot had been occupying the rear seat of the Supercub and the person in the front seat was not a certificated pilot. Asked if he was conducting training in touch and go's, the pilot in command told the NTSB investigators, "well not exactly, I'm not a CFR, he (the student in the front seat) just works for Mike Spisak."

The pilot was asked by the NTSB to show the aircraft to an FAA inspector who would be arriving the following day. The pilot said "no, he (the inspector) can't come on Mike's (Spisak, Ram Aviation, Kotzebue) property, there's a restraining order." The FAA inspector was able to see the airplane and described the airframe damage to the wing tip bow, several ribs and the forward spar to be substantial. The pilot reportedly discussed the accident and said that a crosswind caused a loss of control, and he denied that he was giving flight instruction to the pilot in the front seat.

In a pilot report to the NTSB, the pilot indicated that he was a pilot in command of single and multiengined airplanes and listed all of his pilot time as pilot in command. This time included multiengined airplanes requiring two pilots (he listed a DC-3 type rating), none of which he listed as copilot time. Of his entire 5500 hours claimed as pilot time, no time was listed as dual student or copilot. The pilot in command indicated that he had 100 hours of instructor time in single and multiengine airplanes. FAA records indicate that he does not hold a flight instructor's certificate.

The pilot in command also indicated that he had 20 hours total experience in the accident airplane make and model, and all was "pilot in command."

Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsis
Return to Query Page